Unilever soap brand Lifebuoy has come up with a radical way to remind us of the importance of handwashing -- growing cultures from everyday bacteria and turning them into outdoor ads.
Innovation group The Electric Factory extracted bacteria and fungi from a variety of common items, such as household bills, banknotes, games consoles and smartphones, then placed them in a giant, custom-built petri dish and cultivated them for days at a time. The cultures, and the objects, were then displayed as posters in shopping malls.
The Electric Factory collaborated with microbiologists and scientists on the project, and according to creative officers Federico Cibils and Gustavo Etchandy, the scientific input proved fascinating. "When we began 'seeding' in petri dishes (normal size) at the lab, the first time we saw the bacteria and fungi appear, we were horrified by the idea that those were actually living in our everyday stuff," said Cibils in a statement. "The scientist leading the experiment told us something that made a sudden 'click' inside our heads: we are already immunized to the vast majority of these bacteria. However, there is a slight possibility that some of them are dangerous diseases. That is why it is imperative to wash our hands: to avoid being in contact with these for too long."
While at present the "Bacteriads" posters are only running in malls in Uruguay, the plan is to roll it out in other South American countries, and The Electric Factory also says it is planning a "broader" sequel to the campaign.